During the week covered by this review, we received 10 articles on the following subjects:
The Jerusalem Post, April 6, 2017
Serbia, which already offers restitution to Holocaust survivors living in the country, recently added restitution to former Serbian survivors to its legislation as well. The payment in question will “…constitute compensation for properties that were owned by the Jewish community before the Holocaust and were nationalized following the near annihilation of Serbian Jewry.” The article explains that although neither the original legislation nor the inclusion of foreign residents is unique, “the Serbian law is the first to address heirless property since 47 countries approved the 2009 Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets,” which called for this kind of property to be restituted as well. The survivors outside of Serbia have until July 31st to apply for the payments.
The World Jewish Restitution Organization announced the launch of the program.
Makor Rishon, April 7, 2017
Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO action committee, recently made a series of statements criticizing U.S. politicians for acting under “the influence of the Israeli lobby” at the annual conference of The Washington Reporter on Middle East Affairs. Ashrawi shared her opinions about the lobby’s “influence” on the peace process, and accused Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross and Dan Shapiro of what she stated was a “lack of objectivity” based on their sympathy for Israel. She went on to say, “There are people in the White house that are not just lobbyists but active supporters of the settlements. They don’t need a lobby, they are the decision makers.”
Of particular note is the fact that Ashrawi also spoke against the Christian pro-Israel organizations, calling them dangerous and saying they encourage Israel to “do whatever it wants.” MEMRI and NGO Monitor “…act to poison the atmosphere,” said Ashrawi, adding that Palestine Media Watch addresses any Palestinian who speaks out. According to the article, Ashrawi ended her speech by “…stating her worry over the fact that the Israeli policies influence the UN moods… now the UN echoes with the language of Israel, mediated by Binyamin Netanyahu and Danny Danon.”
The Jerusalem Post, April 7, 2017
More than 3,500 policemen will be patrolling Jerusalem, concentrating on the Old City, during Passover and Easter. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld stated that the extra patrols are designed to ensure the safety of the public, although no concrete threats have been received, adding that this year is a more intense security challenge due to Passover and Easter occurring during the same week. Some 100,000 Jews are expected at the Western Wall for the Priestly Blessing, and some 50,000 Christians are expected at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for the Holy Fire ceremony. The headquarters for police activity will be the police station at Jaffa Gate, and among the tools used for surveillance will be nearly 400 CCTV cameras.
Haaretz, April 7, 2017
This seven-page article gives a detailed critique of the activities of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, its founder and president. Eckstein’s success at fundraising has made the fellowship one of the largest charitable foundations in the country. Most of the funds it raises are earmarked for welfare projects.
The article explores the public recognition Eckstein allegedly demands for the IFCJ, his business practices and personal salary, his interpersonal relations abilities, and his fundraising techniques. Those who oppose Eckstein say that he demands disproportionate recognition for joint projects, that his management techniques have driven many away from the organization, that his salary is too high, and that he has occasionally not acted transparently. His critics claim that by presenting only Israel’s needs rather than including her successes as well, Eckstein is presenting a false picture of the country. Those who support Eckstein say that the IFCJ is certified to be operating at the highest standard, that Eckstein’s salary is only half of what his detractors say it is, and one person quoted in the article noted that if airing Israel’s “dirty laundry” get the fundraising job done, he supports it.
HaMekomon Obyektivi, March 31, 2017
This article covers the stories of three IDF Scouts Brigade soldiers. The three are members of the Bedouin Shibli family, who are known for their Zionist feeling and their dedication to military service. Although their stories are different, they all agree that they are happy to serve and were trained to do so as a family heritage. The army unit feels like their family.
HaChayim HaTovim, April 1, 2017
This article lists tours to a number of sites of interest to the Christian visitor to Israel. Of particular note among them is Beit She’arim, known for its burial caves, particularly that of Rabbi Judah the Prince; Abu Ghosh, with its two Christian churches; and Yad HaShmonah, which is a community of Messianic Jews.
HaShavua b’Beit Shemesh, March 30, Ha’Ir Kol Ha’Ir, March 31, 2017
A group of two hundred and forty high school students from the Boyer school in Jerusalem decided to raise money for their trip to Poland by spending a week in the archaeological excavations at Ramat Beit Shemesh. The students assisted in the uncovering of a Second Temple-era settlement, with eight ritual baths that had been part of people’s houses and underground passages. These passages connect to other, more complicated passages which include caves that were used during the time of the Bar Kochba Revolt. As one of the caves contained complete clay pitchers and cooking pots, archaeologists surmise that the settlement continued to exist even after the destruction of the Temple.
Israel Hayom, April 3, The Jerusalem Post, April 5, 2017
A beautiful capital of a pillar that stood on the Temple Mount was recently discovered in the Temple Mount Sifting Project. The pillar itself appears to have been seventy-five centimeters in diameter, and the capital is Doric, which is typical of the Hasmonean period. Dr. Gaby Barkay, one of the directors of the project, stated that apparently it was part of the eastern porch of the Temple Mount, called Solomon’s Porch by Josephus Flavius and by the New Testament writers. He added that the pillars would have been placed in a double row and covered with cedar to support the roofing. The pillars would have been placed to provide shade to visitors.
The Temple Mount Sifting Project may need to cease operations due to lack of funding. It has been carried out under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University and the Israel Archaeology Foundation, with its operations funded, until recently, by the Ir David Foundation. Tzachi Dvira, co-founder of the project, said that at the beginning of the project he could not have imagined the finds the team has uncovered. “I couldn’t have imagined the current research on pottery, inscriptions, weaponry, coins or any of the hundreds of thousands of finds and the fields of research we are conducting,” said Dvira, adding, “If we can complete even our current research, we are sure to discover much new and important data about the history of the Temple Mount.”